Dry dead spirits make me sadder than bone-dry ground
June 4, 2013
It's hard to believe that we've just blown past another Memorial Day! — Tempus fugit! — Time flies! But since the past decade's years clicked by like stripes on a runway, I shouldn't be surprised at the rate time fugits.
My wife and I set out plants on Memorial Day. We figure that even though it was just a few days ago that we had a freeze at night followed by 94 degrees the next day, the hot temps will likely now win the battle and Jack Frost will be burned into surrender for a few months.
But around here, at least for the last few years, the wind with its drought-charged dust never surrenders and only on brief occasions favors us with a short cease-fire. As I write, we've been blasted for two straight days with unrelenting (even at night) wind and dust. It might have made more sense just to load our pot plants straight into the kitchen oven and crank up the heat, so as to burn 'em up slightly more efficiently.
Sometimes on such days, I get frustrated past the boiling point, and I hear myself wondering why anybody with any sense at all would choose to live in such a land. Then, right after two days of seemingly endless perdition, we have a beautiful morning (before the afternoon wind and dust). And, of course, even as we wonder, we know the primary answer: the people. But we'd be nuts after lengthy runs of dirt and dust and months and months of drought not to wonder why we don't all migrate to someplace where water falls from the sky and they have green grass. We just get fed up with being blown around and sandblasted.
I've heard old folks say that, though conservation practices have kept more of the soil out of the air, the drought we're enduring is at least as bad as the drought they endured during the Dustbowl when, I'm told, the wind and flying dirt drove more than a few folks crazy. I'm not surprised. It may have been the only sensible way to try to get some relief.
Oh, what I'd give to see Jesus do for us on the high plains what he did for the disciples so many years ago in that boat on the Sea of Galilee. They were about to drown in water, as opposed to being up to their necks in blowing dirt. But I'd love to see the Lord stand up, look straight at the raging elements, and say, perhaps with a little fire in his voice, "That's enough! Be still!"
I shouldn't complain. It could be far worse. This abominable weather has left some folks not so far away homeless and grieving. Just a few nights ago, just a hundred or so miles away, a lesser plague had folks heading for storm shelters and shoveling hail like snow. I'm tempted to say, we seem to be very safe here. Tornadoes and hail are usually accompanied by rain, and it never rains here anymore.
But whenever we catch ourselves slipping into complaint mode, we're in worse danger than even a seemingly endless drought can bring. I've known a few complainers, once human and alive with some occasional joy, who morphed into walking Grumbles as they indulged in the poisonous luxury of continual grumbling. Dry dead spirits are sadder even than bone dry ground.
We serve a Lord who can end droughts of any sort. But making it through takes some faith. And having real faith is never easy.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at